Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 19, 2013

Foundation decides to sell Highlands Museum building

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — Citing economic conditions and additional opportunities, the Community and Technical College Foundation of Ashland has decided to sell the former Parson’s building at 1620 Winchester Ave., home of the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center.

“The college foundation has owned it for several years and it was donated to us. We had developed some plans to possibly develop college facilities there, but with the economy and other opportunities, there’s not much of a need for it. So, we have decided to put it on the market,” said Bob Maher, president of the Community and Technical College Foundation of Ashland.

Maher, as well as Ashland Community and Technical College Dean of Resource Development and External Affairs Larry Ferguson said they were hopeful the museum’s directors will buy the building.

“We certainly believe the museum is a good fit for that property,” Maher said.

Ferguson agreed, saying “The hope would be that the museum would buy it. And I believe they have some interest.”

Highlands Museum Director Carol Allen declined to comment about the foundation’s decision to sell the building.

A spokesman for Ross Realty said the public asking price for the property is $600,000.

Ferguson said plans were developed to use the building as a conference and community-education center as well as for academic programs downtown. He said there was never a formal proposal for a nursing school there, although the concept had been discussed. The building was donated to the college foundation by downtown property owner Perry Madden, he said.

The museum occupies the bottom two floors and basement of the six-story structure. A local historian who is familiar with the building said it was built “in the early ‘20s,” and, according to legend, is haunted by the spirit of a security guard who committed suicide there in 1954. Those who favor the story report banjo music can be heard while alone in the building late at night, and note the security guard was a bluegrass musician.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.